The Egoless Car
Remember that little model-t that we did a feature on a few months ago? It was sinister in simplicity. Through restraint, the owner/builder was able to create something that was worth more than the sum of it’s parts. It’s hard for me to put into words, but the look achieved turned my stomach. It’s just right in every way. It’s a hot rod. It’s sinister. It’s simple.
I mean, everyone has their thing – some fellas like flashy, others dig on mechanical extremes, others purely on function, and others still purely on style. Above everything else, I’ve always sided on the side of sinister/evil intentions. At first notion, this might leave you wondering about my tastes… Skulls? Spider webs? Flames? Is Ryan talking about themes?
Not really. I think, I’m talking about ego.
Let’s just get right down to brass tacks here gentlemen. Why do we put up with all of these old cars and the shit that comes with them? If you really step outside of yourself and give an honest assessment, I think it would be hard to argue that your ego doesn’t play some kind of part in your love. When you dream about driving that roadster project of yours, you dream about rolling down the boulevard with your arm on the door sill, cigarette hanging from your mouth, and the wind blowing in your hair. Turn the corner and there’s that broad… ohh that broad… and she’s seeing you in something you created, something that you appreciate. She’s seeing an extension of you and one that is literally shouting from the mountain tops. Hell, you might be able to get in her pants with such an extension in place.
It’s a classic ego trip. None of us are above it.
It’s also a war. In my humble opinion and regardless of your personal style, simplicity is the absolute key to creating a car that leaves a legacy. Think about the cars of our past that still feel fresh today – Sam’s Merc, Doane’s roadster, Barney’s race car, etc… They are all different. They all have different feels, different purposes, and different motives. However, they all do share one common characteristic – simplicity due to restraint.
And restraint seems easy enough, right? Just stop doing shit to your car. Let it breathe like wine. Let it be itself.
But it’s not that easy. Ego gets in the way.
An example is due. A guy with similar tastes to mine is building a ’29 sedan. He wants it to look fast while sitting still. He wants it to leave an impression of evil intentions. He paints it black and gets the stance just perfect. It looks right, but the ego wants more. He chops it severely, he gets the top of the tires sitting way past the quarter reveal, he ads some stickers that shout the message, etc… More is more, right?
At this point, the war is lost. It’s all for naught. What started out as a simple exercise of style and function turned into an arms race with the ego. A little ole Ford will never win an arms race with something as dynamic as a man’s ego. It just won’t happen. The victim, of course, is the car. Its potential is lost.
All of this is very melodramatic and I’m not trying to paint a black and white picture, but I believe the theory to be true – egoless cars create the longest lasting impressions. Or maybe it’s just my own ego that is causing me to strive for cars with little personality… or, at least, personalities that match my own.
Either way, I find it all fascinating in a strange and obscure way. I love old cars.